BEAUMONT, Texas (James Dixon, Lamar Athletics) – Cal State Bakersfield’s Shon Briggs scored a game-high 22 points to lead a hot-shooting Roadrunner squad past Lamar University, 85-73, Sunday afternoon at the Montagne Center. The loss snapped a modest three-game win streak by the Cardinals to start the season.
The Roadrunners (2-2) shot better than 52 percent from the field after knocking down 15-of-24 (.625) attempts in the second half. Bakersfield also converted 10-of-21 (.476) three-pointers Sunday. CSUB also took advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line converting 27-of-33 (.818) attempts.
LU struggled to find an advantage shooting 45 percent from the field, but was held to a 4-of-16 (.250) effort on three-pointers. The Cardinals were also beat on the glass, 35-26. Despite CSUB’s height advantage in the low post, the Cardinals were able to outscore their guests, 36-26, in the paint.
Senior Colton Weisbrod led the Cardinals with 15 points on 5-of-7 (.714) shooting. Junior Josh Nzeakor recorded the team’s fourth double-double in as many games. Nzeakor added 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Senior Joey Frenchwood and sophomore T.J. Atwood came off the bench to score nine points.
“We lost to a tougher team today,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “We got beat in all the toughness areas – we got outrebounded, they shot better than 60 percent in the second half and we didn’t make stops. We pride ourselves on making three stops in a row. We probably had four or five all night, which is something we normally do in the first half. Once they got going we called a timeout to break their momentum but you could tell they were very determined. We knew this was going to be a tough game.”
The first half was a contest that saw neither team gain a significant advantage on the scoreboard as there was no lead greater than five points. The half ended with seven lead changes and was tied seven times. The Roadrunners took a three-point advantage into the locker room when Damiyne Durham hit a three-pointer with 26 seconds on the clock, which followed a free throw from Beaumont’s T.J. Atwood to tie the game. The Cardinals had several looks at the basket in the final 26 seconds but couldn’t get one to fall before horn sounded.
The Roadrunners jumped out of the gate quickly in the second half opening with an 8-0 run to take a 43-35 lead – their biggest of the game. Bakersfield would eventually push its lead to 14 points following another three from Durham. The triple appeared to wake up the Cardinals as they turned to their defense to claw back in the game.
After Weisbrod hit a free throw, LU forced a turnover which led to a Avery Sullivan basket. The Cardinals got a steal from Weisbrod two possessions later which lead to James Harrison jumper in the paint. Harrison then came up with the big defensive play on the next possession picking off a Brent Wrapp pass and driving it the length of the court for a layup. Harrison was fouled on the play but was unable to convert the three-point play.
The Cardinals got another basket cutting the deficit down to five points, 60-55, with 7:23 remaining but LU could get no closer. The Roadrunners turned to their outside shooting to build back its lead. The Roadrunners got three-pointers from Durham on consecutive possessions to build the advantage back to double digits.
The Cardinals tried to put their guests on the free throw line but CSUB was up to the task hitting their final eight free throw attempts to maintain their advantage.
The Cardinals will be back in action Wednesday when they return to the Montagne Center to take on Southern University (New Orleans). The game against the Knights will tip off at 7 p.m. from the Montagne Center. It can be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI and seen live on ESPN3.